ATHENS, Ga. – The 23rd-ranked Georgia Bulldogs toppled the Georgia Southern Eagles 7-2 on Tuesday, earning the series win, in front of a season-high crowd of 3,912 at Foley Field.
“This past weekend left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “We were beaten up by the other team, beat up by the weather, and beat up by the travel. We didn’t handle it very well. Tonight, we challenged our guys and our pitchers challenged themselves. They let everybody know this is what we need to do. I thought everybody responded tonight and every single guy that stepped on the mound tonight was really good.”
Georgia’s (19-6) seven runs came on six hits, led by a 2-for-4, two-run, RBI performance by Connor Tate and a 1-for-3, three-RBI, one home run night by Cole Wagner, while four Bulldogs notched one hit apiece.
On the mound, Hank Bearden (1-0) went a career-high 3.2 innings giving up one run on five hits with a career-high four strikeouts for the win on a staff night. In relief, Michael Polk got the final out of the fourth and then Will Pearson went two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Jack Gowen went two innings giving up one run on one hit, fanning four Eagles. Jaden Woods took care of the ninth with a pair of strikeouts. Georgia Southern (17-8) left-handed pitcher, Danny Madden was tabbed with the loss.
The Bulldogs struck first, plating two runs in the opening frame. With the bases load, Parks Harber reached base on an error by the second baseman that scored a run. Chaney Rogers plated the second run of the inning, again with the bases loaded, on a single to the first baseman – in no man’s land – and beat out the throw.
The Eagles responded in the fourth inning with a solo shot to left field by catcher Kyler Hultgren. Moments later with the bases loaded, GSU first baseman Jason Swan striped a ball to shallow right field that forced a tremendous diving catch by Chaney Rogers to end the inning and save multiple runs. In the bottom of the inning, Georgia answered with a run of its own. With a pair of runners in scoring position, a groundout to the shortstop by Cole Tate plated a run to give UGA a 3-1 advantage.
After two scoreless innings, GSU cut into the Georgia lead, plating one run in the seventh. The Bulldogs responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. A Connor Tate single to right field plated the first run before Cole Wagner hit a moon shot to right field that scored three runs to give UGA a 7-2 edge.
Georgia will return to action with a three-game Southeastern Conference series against No. 16 Florida on Thursday, March 31 through Saturday, April 2. Thursday’s first pitch is slated for 8 p.m. (ESPN2).
•Today marked the 114th meeting between the Bulldogs and Eagles – Georgia owns a 60-54-1 advantage over Georgia Southern in the series.
•Streaking – Ben Anderson improved his streak of safely reaching base to 23 straight games.
•Career-High – Starting pitcher Hank Bearden fanned a career-high four batters in a career-high 3.2 innings of work.
•404 – Not just an Atlanta area code… Cole Wagner exploded on a fastball sending a moon shot 404 feet to right field with a 103 mph exit velocity, according to TrackMan data.